Nathan Lord, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor
  • Department of Computational and Systems Biology

Research Interest Summary

The Lord Lab studies how embryos prevent and correct mistakes during early development.

Research Categories

Research Interests

Developing embryos must orchestrate the fates and movements of their cells with precision. However, precise control is no easy feat; genetic mutations, unexpected environmental perturbations and noisy signaling all threaten to scramble communication. Despite these challenges, development is remarkably robust. How do developing systems ensure precise pattern formation? How are mistakes corrected when they occur? Can we learn to engineer synthetic systems to have the reliability of developing embryos? Answers to these questions must span multiple scales, from signaling responses in individual cells to collective cell movement and morphogenesis. Our lab will tackle these questions with a combination of optogenetic manipulation, quantitative microscopy, computational modeling and classical embryology. Over the long run, we hope to learn the mechanistic principles that enable embryos to avoid and correct errors in development.

Representative Publications

Lord ND*^, Carte AN*, Abitua PB, Schier AF^. Co-receptor expression shapes the Nodal signaling gradient. bioRxiv 2019.12.30.891101

Rogers KW*, Lord ND*, Gagnon JA, Pauli A, Zimmerman S, Aksel DC, Reyon D, Tsai SQ, Joung K,Schier AF. Nodal patterning without Lefty inhibitory feedback is functional but fragile. eLife 6 (2017)

Lord ND*, Norman TM*, Yuan R, Bakshi S, Losick R, Paulsson J. Stochastic antagonism between two proteins governs a bacterial cell fate switch. Science 366, 116-120 (2019)

Norman TM*, Lord ND*, Paulsson J, Losick R. Memory and modularity in cell-fate decision making. Nature 503, 481-486 (2013)

*=> co-first author

^=> co-corresponding author

Full List of Publications